‘It definitely means a lot to me’: World badminton champion Loh Kean Yew targets elusive SEA Games gold

‘It definitely means a lot to me’: World badminton champion Loh Kean Yew targets elusive SEA Games gold

While he missed out on a medal in 2017, Loh would secure a silver two years later, losing to Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia in the final. 

“I’ve gotten bronze and silver in the individual event, but have never gotten gold before. Naturally, that is my goal, my target,” he said. “It’s been a long time since we last won a men’s singles gold … It definitely means a lot to me.”

The last time Singapore won the men’s singles at the SEA Games was in 1983 on home soil, courtesy of Wong Shoon Keat. 

‘I DEFINITELY NEED TO IMPROVE’

It has been an extremely packed 2022 for Loh, having competed in six tournaments in as many months.

His most recent came in the Thomas Cup – where the Singapore men’s team put up fell to three defeats – 1-4 to defending champions Indonesia, 2-3 to South Korea and 2-3 to Thailand.

However, Loh notched victories in each of his singles’ matches, most notably beating Indonesia’s world No 5 Anthony Ginting.

In the four individual tournaments he has competed this year, Loh has made one final, where he lost to India’s Lakshya Sen in the India Open.

At his first All-England tournament, he would stretch world No 3 Anders Antonsen, but he eventually lost 15-21, 21-18, 13-21 in an opening-round match that lasted 74 minutes.

“At the end of last year, my performance shot up very fast. I think it is quite common that there is a drop because now everybody is analysing my game,” he told CNA. “I can’t peak all the time .. . so definitely there will be losses along the way.”

Consistency, the Singaporean pointed out, is an area he needs to work on. 

“At the time (of the World Championships), I was more consistent, but my consistency has dropped. So it is about how to manage it throughout,” he said. “I do stress over the small things because I want to be as consistent as possible … (Every day) I want to try to become better than I was yesterday.”

After his World Championships triumph, Loh is also learning to deal with expectations, both from others and from himself.

Assam Press